Distressing Anxiety Disorders…

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Anxiety…something many struggle with, and silently deal with. It is an invisible struggle. A crushing weight.

Anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

Yet for many, anxiety is much, much more.

For me, it has become debilitating. I never did understand when people said that fear stopped them. Fear is something I have never understood. I am a former adrenaline junkie, was fearless, and never said no to a bet. And then one day it changed. A couple weeks ago I had arrived at my work location, and had just hit the “up” elevator button. Just as I was hitting it it was like someone threw something over me; OVERWHELMING pressure, despair, panic, and anxiety. My chest was being crushed, my throat had tightened, I had to grab on to something to not fall down. I got to my floor, walked up to my boss, and informed her that I was sick and wouldn’t be able to stay…luckily she said she could see in my eyes I wasn’t feeling well. I think she saw “freak out” which may look similar to illness perhaps?

 

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I feel like I’m lost in this storm,                                              and the lighthouse is just out of reach.

Sigh…anxiety has really made my life miserable. It has caused me to lose jobs. It has ceased any social life. I can no longer function like a normal person. I have education and job skills, that is not the problem. The problem is that when I’m stressed my mind goes haywire. I’ve tried meditation, I’ve tried music, I’ve tried breathing…and the saga continues.

I could blame this invisible struggle on many things. I have a thyroid disorder, a suspected adrenal disorder, and basically my system can no longer handle daily stress. So I am on the hunt for a doctor who can help me.

On that note, I must finish this post…my journey for the day has ended. This traveler is weary and must rest.

Carry on.

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Whitney is my dog. She was the closest “person” to me when I read this so I thought i would get her take on what she’s thinking about. Right now Whitney is hiding…from the MEAN and SCARY fireworks that she heard last night. Tonight she’s acting like she’s shell shocked – as she does every 5th of July. Last night I decided that in future years I would be seeking professional pet help so Whitney is not so traumatized and terrified for future 4th of July dates.

So right now, Whitney is lounging around my upstairs hiding from possible impending booms that kept her up and anxious most of last night. When she wasn’t pacing around and whining, she was sitting terrified behind a chair, a toilet, or hugging someones lap. Luckily this only happens once per year. But right now Whitney is still frightened that she will have another long night of the shuddering BOOMS that terrified her last night. 

While my neighbors are outside hooting and carrying on – My poor Whitney is destroying my house. While others are out and about laughing, joking, drinking, and setting off and watching various firework displays – I am playing psychologist to my dog. Last night she paced, then went behind my chair, dug in the floor, sighed, walked out from the chair, paced some more, went under my bed, dug under my bed, finally lay down (sigh) and before I knew it she was up again…making an endless loop of pace, dig, whine, lay, pace,…

So from this frustrated pet owner. If you are planning a 4th of July bash and you know your neighbor(s) has a dog or cat or even little kids – kindly let them know you plan on being loud and rambunctious and you are kindly letting them know because you know they have dogs/cats/critters/kids. Be kind. Be considerate. Let nearby pet owners know you have a loud party planned. Even so – some pet psychologist somewhere thanks you because she will soon have MY dog to deal with.

Whitney says to tell everyone that dogs are like little little kids: they get scared by loud noises, don’t like big booms, don’t like big scary things, and Whitney just doesn’t see WHY anyone would enjoy making all that racket. She prefers things to be a bit more calm and quiet. She said anyone visiting her neighbor dogs should kindly consider NOT making any noise – because it scares her. For days and days. And she just doesn’t like it.

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From Whitney’s thoughts to my keyboard…one little doggie tells her story

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “S/he Said.”

Living the good life…

A good life?

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I think that for me, it is living life with no regrets. That is not to say I refuse to regret choices I make. It is to say that I will make choices based on not regretting making the wrong choices. Probably impossible to do, but as we grow in life, we learn from our mistakes. We learn from those around us. I think though that it is making smart decisions.

It is taking the plunge and doing things that frighten me – and I laugh later at the thought of the previous fear that I had. It is taking a deep breath and doing what I thought not possible. As John Fitzgerald Kennedy said: “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.”  I have learned that in life comes hope. Hope of a brighter tomorrow, hope at the end of the day. While life seems impossibly  challenging at times – we do have hope. C.S. Lewis said: “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” And I personally have found that to be true. We can look under rocks, we can hike hundreds of miles, we can walk through Death Valley – but I have found no true peace in Buddha, no true peace in New Age mysticism, no true peace in anything but God, Jesus Christ. I am not an uneducated hick though I may sometimes sound like I am because of how I choose to write. I have 3 Master’s Degrees – I will likely be obtaining a PhD or a JD. Not all of us choose this road. Some choose this road after a long and bloody battle. I encourage you to not take the road to self-destruction, the road that leads to many regrets – all too often we cannot find our way back. It is an awful thing to look back at your life and not know how to fix it or change it. I come from a family who has made many destructive decisions – many of which have affected me. We cannot control the impact of our decisions, whether they be on ourselves, our children, or generations to come.

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So, today, tomorrow, and in the future – may you make decisions to the best of your ability. Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. Robert H. Schuller

Speedy Gonzalez – (Daily prompt)

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Speedy Gonzalez. A fond cartoon memory for some, a former nickname for me. Probably the most awesome gift I have ever received for a birthday was a 4-wheeler (ATV) when I turned 12. My dad always worked hard, but this year he had been working a LOT of overtime. For sometime I had wanted one, though I don’t recall specifically asking for one. But I grew up hanging out with the guys in family, my dad, my grandpa, my three uncles, and whatever random family friend was around. I loved to hang out in the garage at the car lot my family owned. I loved the fumes associated with stripping cars down and repainting them. Toxic? Yes…but nonetheless I loved those smells.

So my 4-wheeler. My parents took me to the car lot that day. I was bored and they were coaxing me towards the window, all with weird grins on their faces. I look out back and there in the back, was a small, my sized 4-wheeler. Of course, I was the only kid around and screeched out “IS THAT FOR MEEEEEE?” My parents laugh and say yes…and I was off. I broke axels, rolled it, crashed it, and then BAM…when I was 15 my parents decided I was too tom-boyish and it was literally just GONE one day. I cried. A lot.

So why was I Speedy Gonzalez? Because I never walked anywhere – I always ran. And I never just RODE 4-wheeler or my bike or my skateboard, I rode like I was in a race and had no option to lose. If there was a boy around, I beat him. One of my teachers saw me racing down the road one day (we live in the country and it was a small town) and gave me nickname…and it stuck. So Mr Bach…thanks…you are the reason for today’s blog post.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Image Search.”

The Gift of a Lifetime…Ick-tastic

What is the perfect gift? Well that question is hard to answer. The perfect gift to one person, may be a dreadful gift for another.

What we are discussing today is an ick-tastic gift, that is TRULY unique. The best part about this ick-tastic gift? It is absolutely free. This gift is as unique as you wish it to be. So how does one make this ick-tastic gift? First, you must start by collecting. A sandwich bag and rubber gloves to collect would be advisable.

It is really quite simple…The next time you walk into that public bathroom, only to find that someone before you has left something behind…collect it! The next time you clean your bathtub drain…collect it! The next time you see a brush with many stray hairs…collect them! No longer do you have to worry about what to do with all that hair! How you choose to give your collection is up to you. You may make a crafty handmade gift, or you may simply choose to use your collection as packing to the “real” gift.

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May the creative genius in you be unleashed!

* Note – I am not responsible from “things caught” from your collections. This is a creative blog only. I am merely suggesting useful ways in which you may take normally unwanted things. NOT responsible for any injury or disease caught by collecting your ick-tacular gift.

Ick-gift-tacular gift ideas: necktie with your hair collection stuck to it, a stick on mustache, a nice scarf, a cute plastic animal (crafting glue should work nicely!), gorilla slippers, or a nice t-shirt that says “All I got for my birthday was this ICK-TACULAR shirt” (be sure to include a nice note that tells that washing is not recommended…and I am not certain HOW to make the hair stick to a shirt).

Send in your pictures of your ick-tacular gift today! 

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Embrace the Ick.”

Living with an invisible illness…hypothyroidism

Many people struggle with thyroid problems. In fact I would say that everyone knows someone with thyroid problems. It has probably become so well known, but only those suffering from it really KNOW how it is. There is a website called “Stop the Thyroid Madness” that has been a big help to me. A friend of mine told me about it. On this site is a long and pathetic list of symptoms. Here are just some of mine:

  • Low stamina
  • Low energy
  • Long time to recover after an activity
  • Arms like dead weights
  • Legs like dead weights
  • Depression
  • Always feeling cold
  • High cholesterol
  • Constipation
  • Thinning and dry hair
  • Dry cracking skin
  • Nodding off easily
  • The feeling that I have to crawl under my desk at work – for just a few minutes relieft
  • Hurts to breathe
  • Forgetfulness
  • Foggy mind
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Aching bones/muscles
  • Ringing ears
  • Anxiety that I can’t seem to control
  • Not able to eat in mornings
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Food allergies
  • Itching in my ears
  • No appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Tightness in throat
  • Hoarse voice/throat
  • Migraines
  • Low body temp (96.4)
  • Always fatigued

This is not an exhaustive list…but for me, my everyday reality. Even on Armour Thyroid I still have these things daily. With Synthroid I also had increased heartbeat, tight chest, nausea, vomiting, and more. I am not a doctor, nor a medical professional. What I am is someone who is sick. I have done extensive research on all things endocrinology.

I suspect I may have adrenal fatigue. I suspect several other things as well. I have not been blessed with a husband who supports me. Instead I must work full-time to support myself. In my current position I work about 50 hours a week, and drive about another 20 hours a week. So I put in about 70 hour a week.

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There are days I don’t know how I make it. I get to work and have to lie back in my seat because I am so exhausted I literally cannot move. So I have to try to sleep for however long I can in my car before I go in to work. Sometimes on the way home I have to pull in somewhere because I can’t keep my head up or my eyes open. It sucks. It really sucks. People just do not understand why I so sick. It’s pointless trying to explain to someone what is wrong with you…they think, “it’s ONLY thyroid problems. EVERYONE has those.” Not quite. I doubt that everyone is just driving along, and suddenly goes into a trance they can’t snap out of. Then after that I can barely walk, and after that I can barely say my name, let alone think it. And then I have to try to pretend nothing is wrong and put cohesive words into my mouth and into countless conversations, emails, memos, and correspondence. Sigh.

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Right now I’m on probation at work. Why? Because I can’t do my job because I’m sick. I can’t remember certain aspects of my job that I should be able to. I have an IQ that is higher than most. But simple tasks are now awful for me. Because I can’t remember how to do them. So I have taken to making notes about everything…but my boss doesn’t seem to get that. Right now, all the words I am seeing are doubled – because my eyes are extremely dry. My body hurts when I breathe in and out. And I am in an exhaustive state that I really cannot explain. And Monday morning, no matter how bad I feel, I must put one foot in front of the other and drag myself to work. And once there it will be all out chaos. My boss will chew me out because I have forgotten some stupid aspect of my job. She will chew me out because I made a dumb mistake because whatever…and all I can do is smile, nod, and say I will try to do better. But how can I? I can’t go to the doctor, because my boss fusses when I need to go. And my days are full of meetings and tasks that I cannot shove off to someone else. I can’t go to the doctor – I’ve been trying to and have missed the last 3 because of work. I can’t lose my job. If I lose my job I lose my insurance. If I lose my insurance I lose my ability to pay for all the stupid medication that’s supposed to make my functional. But how functional am I really? It could be worse, and it has been. But certainly, this is not how everyone feels.

One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. As Dory the fish says: “Just keep swimming.”

Working in the big city

About a year ago I finished up a Master’s in business. Seriously the most worthless degree out there in my opinion. But because of this degree, and experience chalked up with church youth group volunteering I landed a decent job at a well respected University in Northern Ohio.

Let me tell you about my experiences there so far…

Day zero. 

I’m a small town girl. Small town, like we have one or two 24 hour gas stations. Our local schools have a huge FFA program. And we have drive your tractor to school day. In our community it’s not uncommon to see Amish buggies and to drive down a country road and see the Amish plowing their fields with horses and plows that you stand on. It’s a serene world in these parts. I first got a call to do a phone interview with someone at the University. It went decent enough. I was surprised though when she called me back to ask me to come up for an in-person interview. Let me tell you….the area the University is in was like a foreign land to me! No Amish buggies were to be found up here! It was downtown madness! High rise buildings, police crossing guards, and parking garages galore. Don’t get me wrong…I DO know how to park in parking garages – but this world was much different from the one I live in everyday. I seriously was like a lost puppy in the days before I started. I made a point to drive up there several times to try to get the lay of the land.

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Two pictures from “my world” and two pictures of my “new work world” (though I have farming pictures on here I am not, nor will I likely ever be, a farmer)

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These two pictures I find ironic because when I first saw all these downtown apartment buildings, they REALLY freaked me out. I have always lived in a HOUSE. And a decent sized house at that. Then, I see these buildings and they apparently contain apartments. Some of them are SMALL…like 300-400′ feet. That is like the size of my bedroom at home. Now the busses. I will admit, public transportation still freaks me out. I wouldn’t consider myself backwoods or incompetent…just in my neck of the worlds we don’t HAVE busses that people use on a regular basis.

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I have tentatively tried using the shuttle systems that my employer provides. But even that is weird. You’re supposed to call out your stop right before you get that. Which works IF YOU KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING! The whole shuttle systems works best though when the shuttle actually stops when and where it should – which it never seems to stop when I need it to.

Key/Swipe cards...are just weird. You have to have these biochipped IDs to get throughout many places on campus. That includes getting in and out of parking garages. This would have been helpful to know before I tried getting into and out of my garage on the first day. What a disaster! But then I figured out that they ID they gave me, was also the “key” to getting into my garage and out of my garage. Strange things.

More to come on the life in Northern Ohio at a later time and date…from my small town girl perspective. All I can do some days…is put one foot in front of the other and “just keep swimming.”